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Old 07-12-2015, 10:21 AM   #1
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 6
A couple questions, JBL trip

My son (13) and I are heading into a lean to at JBL next Friday for a few nights. I have a few questions...

Parking: I'm pretty nervous about the Garden area. We're driving from Ottawa so the earliest we could get there is around 10AM. What are the chances that the lot will be full? If so, any recommended plan? Wait for a spot, or leave gear/son and park where?

Hikes: We plan to do Marcy one day, he's done a few other high peaks and really wants to do Marcy. For the other day, I'd love to do a short hike (a couple miles) that leads to a swimming hole. Any recommendations for that?

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Old 07-12-2015, 10:37 AM   #2
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,957
I guess you have about a 50% chance of finding a spot on Friday at 10 AM.

Here's the shuttle schedule:

but it does not operate on Fridays. Easiest alternative parking is the Roostercomb lot down near the Noonmark Diner (about 2.5 mile road walk back up to the Garden - you can often hitch a ride with someone).

From the JBL area, it would be a short walk down the Southside trail to the Tenderfoot pools. The Southside trail is officially abandoned, but still gets heavy use as the route to the popular Bennies Brook slide. The pools are further downstream, where the trail is near the brook; but of course you can swim anywhere it looks safe and good.
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Old 07-12-2015, 10:40 AM   #3
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Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 5,300
I answered your question about parking at the Garden in your other thread, but I'll copy and paste it here too for future reference.

The Garden typically doesn't ever fill up completely on most weekdays, but Friday is the weekday that it is probably most likely to fill up if it will. 10 am also isn't the best time to be arriving to ensure a spot. I wouldn't necessarily go to the trouble of coming down the night before, but I'd probably try to get their earlier in the morning just to be on the safe side.

The closest legal parking to the Garden in the event that it is full is the municipal lot down in Keene Valley. Overnight parking is permitted there.

Marcy isn't super hard from JBL but it is nevertheless a long day. Be sure to get an early start, and bring plenty of food and water with you, and a warm non-cotton layer to wear at the summit if needed. If the event of inclement weather, you may want to pick an alternative destination, as conditions can be significantly worse above treeline when you've got rain, winds, and/or a low cloud ceiling that obscures the summits and makes the trails above treeline hard to follow. Avoid any summits if there is a thunderstorm approaching.

Between the Phelps Trail and the Hopkins Trail, the Phelps Trail is a little bit more frequently traveled and easier to follow, but it is not a huge difference. The Phelps Trail also takes you past Slant Rock, which is a pretty neat spot.

With regards to swimming, there really isn't an abundance of swimming holes in the Johns Brook area. There are probably some spots along the brook here and there that would work, but I can't think of any large and/or deep pools of water. Be careful near Bushnell Falls or any other area with significant cascades and currents. (EDIT: See TCD's post about swimming above.)

Have a good trip! Don't forget your bear canister (they are required by regulation) and remember that campfires are prohibited in the Eastern High Peaks. (EDIT: It sounds like you may be staying on ADK property at JBL, in which case the state land use regulations do not apply. Check with the ADK to see about food storage and campfires.)
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Old 07-12-2015, 11:20 AM   #4
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 6
Thanks for the advice.

On Marcy I was thinking we'd go in one direction on Phelps, the other on Hopkins, recommendation on which way to go?
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Old 07-13-2015, 09:44 AM   #5
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,957
Either way is fine. Just pay close attention to your junctions and signs if you come down Hopkins, so you don't accidentally stay the Van Ho trail and end up miles off course (this happens).

There is a section of the Phelps trail that is an absolute mess for about a half mile just below the range trail (Haystack) junction, but it does not make much difference whether you are going up or down. (This section has been a mess for as long as I can remember, and badly needs some kind of maintenance. You can really notice the transition where trail maintenance stops, about halfway up from Slant Rock. There's lots of nice trail work, stone steps, etc., and then bang, you're in a swamp with rotted out 50 year old bridges.)
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Old 07-14-2015, 11:46 AM   #6
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 2
Swimming in John's Brook right by JBL is fun, although it's not very deep!

Big Slide is a worthwhile short hike near JBL if you haven't done it (no swimming, just great views!). If you're feeling energetic you can hike out over Big Slide and the Brothers. The way down the brothers into the valley also has some fantastic views.

If you really want to swim in deep water you can always pause in lake placid on your way home and jump in the lake there.

You might have trouble finding a lean-to near JBL unless you have one of those reserved ones - you could also look for campsites/lean-tos near slant rock, although that's also a popular area.
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Old 07-16-2015, 07:28 PM   #7
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 6
Thanks, we reserved one of the lean-tos by JBL, I thought this was an good idea for my sons first backpack, no need to carry a tent and they supply bear canisters.
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